Skip to content

EPA Announces Changes to Ozone Levels; Could Changes Come to Clean Air Act?

Last week the EPA announced that it was lowering the ceiling on the country’s ozone standard from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 70 ppb.  The EPA says its decision was based on “extensive scientific evidence about ozone’s effects on public health and welfare.”

Clean air advocates aren’t buying the reasoning, while critics of the EPA are seeing this as potential leverage for getting Congress to crack open the Clean Air Act for additional changes.

Health and clean air advocates had hoped the EPA would reign in the ceiling even more than it did, citing the health of children, seniors and those with respiratory problems wouldn’t benefit.

In a statement that EarthJustice released shortly after the announcement, David Baron, managing attorney said, “This weak-kneed action leaves children, seniors, and asthmatics without the protection doctors say they need from this dangerous pollutant.  It will allow thousands of deaths, hospitalizations, asthma attacks, and missed school and work days that would be prevented by the much stronger standard supported by medical experts.”

Congress may not be so quick to take up any new changes to the Clean Air Act.  Said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-), “I wouldn’t want the House of Representatives unleashed right now on the Clean Air Act.”